Apace with the growing awareness of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on climate, the building industry has been subject to criticism for not pushing harder for the development of more environmentally sound construction.

In fact, a number of innovations for more energy efficient buildings have been presented over the years. However, companies attempting to devise holistic, multidisciplinary solutions have been thin on the ground.

Much of the technology is here already, but the challenge is to make it commercially viable. According to the International Energy Agency, the consumption of coal, oil and gas rose by 700% between the early 1960s and the year 2000.

Today approximately 40% of the total energy used in OECD countries is used in buildings. The goals of the WBCSD’s project on energy efficiency in buildings are energy self-sufficiency and carbon neutrality at reasonable costs by 2050.

Photovoltaic cells that collect free energy, elevators that produce almost as much energy as they use just by doing their job, light-weight cement that insulates effectively against heat and cold, recyclable building materials, building designs that minimize wind impact, water systems that collect, store and recycle rainwater, and ecologically compatible city landscapes are just some of the solutions being explored.